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Stereo Update:

I have a American made 2003 2.3l Manual Mazda6 with the standard stereo system.
The stock stereo was miserable when I bought it. After a bit of use, it began to sound a little better. I may have been becoming accustomed to its muddy sound, but I also think the speakers opened up a bit with some use. The stereo ships (and sounds best) with the bass, midrange, and treble all raised on the factory equalizer, with treble getting the highest boost. There's no one area that the stereo isn't good at- it's all of them. No highs, limited lows, lack of clarity and presence- it's all there. It's the kind of sound you get from a typical FM radio station, only you're listening to a CD. Then again, if you only listen to radio- the stock stereo will do you fine.

My standards are higher.

The '6 is a very quiet car, and the stock stereo had plenty of volume with the windows up. In fact, the car is so quiet, the speed-sensitive volume control is virtually useless. That is, until you roll down the windows. Roll them down, and you're inviting wind noise into the equation- something the stock stereo cannot compete with. The stereo is only adequate with the windows up, though if the stereo were capable of playing louder, the speed-sensitive volume would be very useful to compensate for wind noise.

Let's make it better.

I purchased an amplifier, four component speakers, and a line-out converter. Here's what I've found:

- The line-out converter can be used to produce marvelous sound, but it begins to break up around "14" or "15" on the stereo's dial. A line-out converter converts your existing amplifier's output, so you are amplifying its distortion if it produces some. I suspected the distortion was coming from the stock amplifier, so I adjusted the gain on my aftermarket amplifier so "15" is as loud as I wanted to go.

- The stock speakers are extremely efficient. I replaced them with very efficient speakers- 92db with 1 watt of power (at 1 meter); and they were significantly quieter. Because of this, replacing the factory speakers without adding an amplifier will probably not produce enough volume.

- The line-out converter will make engine noises if it is grounded. Do not connect the ground wire- it is not needed. Even more annoying is the whine when the wipers are used. Do not ground the line-out converter!

- Use a line-out converter rated for 25 or more watts. I tried two- one of which was rated to a mere 15 watts. This did not attenuate the signal enough, and produced an audible pop when seeking new tracks on the CD player. I switched to an 80 watt converter, and it removed all these sub-harmonic artifacts. Or, at least, it attenuated them enough that I couldn't hear them.

- Do not use the rear output. It is useless. The rear speakers are attenuated so that a loud "beep" comes from them whenever a button on the console is pressed, but little music comes from them. You are best splitting the signal to your front speakers twice, the "beep" is much quieter in relation to the music.

- The stock speakers cannot handle a bigger amplifier than the stock one. Give them more power and they will begin to break up, though a better amplifier will sound much cleaner.

- The stock speakers are 6" x 8" in all four doors. The tweeters appear to be ~3/4" mylar domes with a single capacitor as a crossover. To use the stock housing will not take a tweeter with an outside diameter of over 1 1/4 inches (if that). For mounting larger tweeters, you will need to cut. I'm currently experimenting here.

- When mounting a tweeter behind the factory housing, it will sound harsh. This is due to the tweeter playing through two speaker grills- its integrated one and the factory one. The difference is not subtle. The only solution is to not mount your new tweeters behind the factory mount's grill. As mentioned, I'm currently experimenting. I expect a 1 5/8" circular hole and some black epoxy will do the trick.

- Smaller (and round) woofers tend to have better off-axis response as they extend into the upper frequency range. This allows them to blend more seamlessly with the tweeters, which are mounted a far two feet above them near the windows. Since the factory woofers are 6" x 8", I replaced them with 5 1/4" woofers in the front and used a mounting adapter.

- The mounting adapters I used were thin and flimsy. VERY thin and flimsy. One of the utmost important things in quality sound is isolating vibrations, so I did my best to stiffen them. I used a pair of the brackets on each side. Once the woofer was mounted in the bracket, I used sealant to around the inside of the woofer frame to make sure I had a good seal between the woofer and brackets. Once the entire fixture was mounted, I covered it with dynamat sound insulation.

- I used dynamat sheets, but the doors were too abnormal and curvy for this. I'd strongly recommend using the spray-on dynamat instead, assuming it works as well. Hindsight is 20/20...

- I filter the bass out of the front speakers and matched the crossover frequency to a small subwoofer. The subwoofer resides under the passenger's seat, so phase issues are not too problematic. The woofer plays clearly into the passenger compartment rather than fighting to be heard from the rear (where most woofers are placed). The rear speakers, which are larger, run full-range.

- I have the rear tweeters mounted on the rear deck, but this sounds weird for rear passengers. I may disconnect them completely to keep the soundstage up front. My front components allow tweeter level adjustment, and the tweeters can be set to play loudly to adjust for the second set of woofers.

- I removed the dash and cut the wires coming from the stock head unit. The speaker outputs are the 8 wires on the top of the head unit wiring harness (four to each side of the latch). I spliced these, and ran connections to and from the amplifier to this splice. It was rather simple to run wires from the dash, alongside the 5-spd, and out near the parking brake to the amplifier under the seat. My line-out converter is mounted right next to the shifter, and I ran RCA outputs thereon out. Speaker wires come back in from under the seat and back into the dash.

- It's apparent after examining wiring diagrams and seeing the actual wiring harness that the premium Bose option would replace the factory amplifier outputs with preamplifier outputs. For those with the bose option, you could run the exact same wiring, but skip using a line-out converter. The Bose system appears not to have a preamplified subwoofer channel.
 

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Reading Topic: Lots of information

Bump and thanks for your informative info here strechsje.And no one replied to your post??
 

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I have my subs (powered by 2 301m fosgate amps) currently runing off a LOC connect to the rear channel. I amp about to add the 3rd amp to power 4 new speakers. should i run the subs off the rear nd the 6x8's off the front? or switch that maybe?
 

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Replying to Topic 'Lots of information'

stretchsje, great post. If you ahve a camera would it be possible for you to post some pics of your audio installtion. I'm particularly interested in your tweeters and sub installation under the seat. BTW what specific equipment are you using?

-Bill
 

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Reading Topic: Lots of information

Note that this is a 5 month old post, guys. Also, stretch is on vacation for a few weeks.
 

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Reading Topic: Lots of information

Could have been the infamous "thread mining" bug that we had a little while ago. Or maybe oakfan52 is just a Forum Spelunker. :D
 

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haha...my bad.never realized he changed nick :) But anyway appreciate his effort though.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Lots of information'

QUOTE
Originally posted by Phrosted


            Could have been the infamous "thread mining" bug that we had a little while ago.  Or maybe oakfan52 is just a Forum Spelunker.  :D[/b]
hey it was at the top when i replied to it. lol
 
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